Lionsgate on Friday had its biggest opening day ever in China with Now You See Me 2, and is now looking at a record three-day. The sequel to the 2013 summer hit pulled $14.8M out of its hat yesterday in the Middle Kingdom — a magical increase of 790% in local currency and 679% in U.S. dollars versus the first film. Through Saturday, the two-day total is $36.4M (240.4M rmb) sending the film to a potential $50M China weekend which would be Lionsgate’s biggest ever opening in the market. It’s previous biggest bow was 2013’s Escape Plan with $22.8M.
According to unofficial local estimates, Now You See Me 2 is No. 1 in China, topping Independence Day: Resurgence which looks to be at about $28M after today. From helmer Jon M Chu, NYSM2 stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan.
In another sign of how important a local marketing partner in China can be, Now You See Me 2 – which includes scenes shot on location in Macau – is benefiting from a strong campaign run by local Lionsgate partner Leomus Pictures. And, it’s got a secret weapon in Asian superstar singer-songwriter Jay Chou who also features in the film. He previously provided the theme song to Kung Fu Panda 3. The original NYSM nabbed a foreign cume $234m.